Richmond started the first ever Premiership Play Off final strongly, retaining possession and working their way ever closer to the Saracens try line. Putting their opposition under pressure, the South West Londoners were awarded three penalties in a row, all of which were kicked to touch with the final one leading to the opening score after just 4 minutes. Hooker Emma Croker touched down following a strong maul from the lineout; 5-0.
On 8 minutes Walters of Saracens was yellow carded for pulling down the maul and to add to Saracens woes, a poor clearance kick gave Richmond another attacking opportunity as the kick was gathered by Myers before being spread to the opposite wing allowing Captain Shiels to score; 10-0.
Saracens responded almost immediately attempting a catch and drive of their own, but it was deemed held up by referee Sara Cox. They had another scoring opportunity when Richmond were penalised with hands in the ruck, however the kick for posts was missed. Despite not scoring, Saracens now had the best of the possession and territory and were further buoyed when Shiels was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on.
The try eventually came for Saracens when centre Lauren Cattell crossed the line following a quick tap and go from Brown which caught the majority of Richmond within 10 metres and unable to tackle her for fear of conceding a penalty; 10-5.
A sensational break down the blind from Richmond’s Riley, who chipped the winger, causing a knock on from the Saracens full back gave them good field position and following a succession of pick and gos, number 8 Caplice scored. While Saracens had the greater possession, Richmond were in smash and grab mode and were converting their opportunities, 15-5.
As Saracens attempted to attack from their 22, Holly Myers read the play perfectly to intercept and run under the post unopposed. Jackie Shiels successfully converted taking the score to 22-5, just before half time.
Saracens needed to come out after the break all guns blazing, and that’s what they did, maintaining pressure on the match leaders, however mistakes and drop balls meant their attack was repeatedly halted. Despite Saracens early dominance, it took them 16 minutes to open the second half scoring, but they eventually closed the gap with a second for the centre Cattell, 22-10.
Richmond responded with a successful penalty kick from Chamberlain, 25-10, but there was to be no further scores until the 73rd minute when Chamberlain successfully converted another penalty; 28-10.
Saracens never gave up and were rewarded consolation try on 79 minutes and 59 seconds when Gallagher touched down under then post with the conversion being kicked by Cattell. Final score, 28-17.
Richmond, who finished top in the regular season, take the spoils in the first ever Premiership play off, but Saracens were more dominant than the score line suggests. Richmond’s ability to convert their opportunities and Saracens difficulty in doing so was the defining difference which allowed Shiels and her team to win the 2016 Women’s Premiership.
Emma Croker was named the Sky Sports player of the match.
|17/01/2016||5:30 pm||Premiership Final||2015-16|